by Maureen O Betita
Published by Decadent Publishing Company, LLC
“…We women, we know the truth of love and the human heart. He will mourn me, dearest Evangeline. But as this illness steals my time with him, I want to leave him with hope. This dating service you run…when you feel he is ready, find him a woman, Eve. Find him someone different so that he doesn’t look for me in her eyes.
Show him my letter, so that he knows I want this for him with all my heart. Our children will follow your lead. He will resist, but you must be firm. Use all you know to bring love back into his life.
My days are numbered, the drugs ease my pain. Help my Aaron to heal from his.
Yours in spirit, Maria Consuelo Castillo”
He read the letter and slid into the chair at the family meeting. With a shudder, he met his son’s eyes and sighed. They all watched him, waiting. She wanted this? His beloved wife, gone three years? It was a useless gesture, but he wouldn’t deny the attempt. One date, to satisfy Maria. But that was all. He swore it.
Another from Decadent's 1 Night Stand series, but this time it's by Maureen O Betita, rapidly becoming my go-to author for older couples. This time the patriarch of the Casillo clan is set up by his deceased wife and his offspring on a date with a fifty year old former high-flier. They have a boat trip, they share finger food on a tropical island, and it's all very sweet. A lovely short to keep me going until I can buy the next paperback in the author's Kraken series.
Shipwrecked with Mr Wrong
by Nikki Logan
Published by Mills & Boon
Marooned in paradise with a bikini-clad beauty...is surely the only way for a truly committed playboy to get shipwrecked! Ideally, however, Rob Dalton would have chosen a slightly friendlier companion! Prickly conservationist Honor Brier clearly just wants to be left alone with her birds and turtles. Honor's had more than her fair share of heartbreak, and the isolated island has been a perfect place to lick her wounds in peace. She has no time for accidental tourists. Yet Rob is charming and infuriatingly attractive - his sheer passion for life is difficult to resist. Slowly Honor is discovering that even playboys may have their good points...
I wanted to love this one more than I did. The setting really appealed, but I couldn't seem to connect with either of the characters, and since there was literally no one else for them to interact with, I didn't feel that I got to see more than one side of either of them. Having said that, the background details were wonderful, and the research into them shone through without being overwhelming.
by Tanita S Davis
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Octavia and Tali are dreading the road trip their parents are forcing them to take with their grandmother over the summer. After all, Mare isn’t your typical grandmother. She drives a red sports car, wears stiletto shoes, flippy wigs, and push-up bras, and insists that she’s too young to be called Grandma. But somewhere on the road, Octavia and Tali discover there’s more to Mare than what you see. She was once a willful teenager who escaped her less-than-perfect life in the deep South and lied about her age to join the African American battalion of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.
Told in alternating chapters, half of which follow Mare through her experiences as a WAC member and half of which follow Mare and her granddaughters on the road in the present day, this novel introduces a larger-than-life character who will stay with readers long after they finish reading.
This had some wonderful little touches, like the postcards the girls send home to family and friends, and which are interspersed with the chapters. The glimpse into the world of the WAC was fascinating, but I didn't entirely connect with the characters in the modern sections of the books. Well worth reading for the historical details.
Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro
Published by Faber and Faber
In one of the most acclaimed and strange novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewered version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now 31, "Never Let Me Go" hauntingly dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School, and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, "Never Let Me Go" is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.
I really don't think I could have stood the chatty narrative style of this if I'd had to read more than a page or two of the print version. As it was, I found myself wanting to strangle the protagonist on multiple occasions, though not as much as I wanted to do the same to all the other characters. Other authors do dystopias far better in my opinion.
[ETA:] On the other hand, I have been thinking about the issues raised quite a lot since I finished listening to the book.